Rivaldo and Ronaldinho have led the praise for Lionel Messi after the Argentine star became Barcelona's highest official scorer in history.
Tuesday's hat-trick during a 5-3 victory over Granada took 'La Pulga' to 234 goals in the Blaugrana shirt, overhauling Cesar Rodriguez's long-standing record. Messi has already attracted high praise from coach Pep Guardiola, who compared him to NBA legend Michael Jordan.
And in a series of interviews with Brazilian players who have represented Barcelona, Globoesporte demonstrated that the historic rivalry between the nation and Argentina had no bearing on the high opinion idols such as Rivaldo, Ronaldinho and Romario held for the diminutive superstar.
"In my opinion, he has already made history. That is why I think he can be the greatest player ever to represent [Barcelona]," Rivaldo explained on Thursday, sentiments backed up by Flamengo star Ronaldinho.
"I am delighted to see this young kid enjoy the success he is having. I saw him right at the start, the first goal he scored was from a pass of mine. Ever since I came to Barcelona I have seen in Messi a young man with massive potential and talent," Ronaldinho opined of his former team-mate in Catalunya.
"Now I support him even more. Not just because he is a great player, but he is also my friend. I will always be behind him."
Romario, meanwhile, who netted 39 times for Barca in little over two seasons, praised the Argentine but affirmed that he has to repeat his form on the international stage to cement his place in history.
"This record is well deserved for the titles he has already lifted while at Barca. Messi is a star and he keeps proving it. But he still hasn't managed to repeat his success in the Argentina shirt," the socialist deputy and World Cup winner argued.
"That is why he still cannot enter the ranks of the best in the world, but that could change. He is still young and there is time."